In case you haven’t managed to keep up with all the various releases over the last month, here’s a summary of the new watch releases in March 2021 to note.
Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad
RRP: CHF 13 200 (EUR 13 180, USD 14 100)
Limited to 500 pcs
Diameter: 40.3 mm
Matte, deep black dial. Hours, minutes, seconds and date. Fauxtina SuperLuminova, 30 bar water resistance, caliver 1151, 4 days of power reserve.
Official site: Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad
Blancpain is one of the Swatch Group’s upper high-end luxury brands with a heritage that dwarf most other brands. On the other hand, its popularity is quite outside of the mainstream, as people with 100K available to spend on watches typically look elsewhere. These things go hand in hand. Do you want to spend that amount of money on a watch people around you might not appreciate when there are watches with crowns that everybody knows? From my perspective, that’s one of the main features with Blancpain. Then again, I love everything off the beaten path.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms needs little introduction. Its continuity is unparalleled; the Submariner is second to the Fifty Fathoms in this regard. Its military specifications (Mil-Spec) were supplied to various western navies in the 1950’s. Legibility in darkness was essential and obtained by means of radioactive luminescence: radium. In the 1960’s, the hazardous levels of radiation became apparent and promptly unwanted. In order to eliminate the risk of using a radium infused model, the No Radiation variant was equipped with a large red-on-yellow crossed-over radiation symbol. As related, an icon was born.
The 2021 release of the No Rad is limited to 500 pieces, just like the last one in 2010. This time, the case size emulates the original one (40.3mm) whereas the 2010 version sported massive 45mm. Creating a sense of vintage feel, fauxtina luminescence is applied. Sapphire bezel insert, display case back and a polished case all feature Blancpain’s design expression.
The release of the No Rad is timed perfectly after last year’s Bathyscaphe Mokarran LE. Those who know, know. With crown-equipped watches being close to impossible to source and others quit making steel versions of their flagship models, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more attention going Blancpain’s way.
Sinn U1 DS
RRP: 2200 EUR (2500 with bracelet)
Limited to 500 pcs
Diameter: 44 mm
Machine-ground dial. Hours, minutes, seconds and date. Tegimented case made in submarine steel. 1000m water resistance.
Official site: Sinn Uhren: Modell U1 DS
Sinn demonstrates its heritage as independent watch maker by yet again producing a very innovative and original dial. Perhaps less perplexing than the metallic green dial on their latest 103 pilot, the U1 DS features a machined grey dial unique to every piece. The hands are the same black and white hands as can be found on for example the U1 B. First impression? Poor legibility. If Sinn would have opted for its standard red and white hands, this watch would probably sell out in a minute.
Other than that, the watch bears the traditional marks of the U1. In contrast to the green limited edition (U1 C) released during the fall, the U1 DS has the standard SW200-1 movement and date. The tough specifications are the same as usual: 1000m water resitstance, DIN 8310 and DIN 8306 compliant, 44mm diameter and 14.7mm height.
As for several of the other LE, this one is not tegimented. Still, expect the limited edition run will undoubtedly be successful.
Omega Seamaster 300
RRP: USD 6 150 (6 500 with bracelet)
Diameter: 41 mm
Sandwich dial, lume-filled indexes and numbers. Hours, minutes and seconds.
Official site: – 188.8.131.52.01.001 | OMEGA® (omegawatches.com)
Is there really a need for another Omega version? For example, the Planet Ocean comes in 49 different versions, in turn dwarfed by the 99 different Aqua Terra models. It may well be hard to keep track when Omega decides to release a bunch of new watches the same day. While the all-black Seamaster 300M Black Black is a bold addition to its peers, the new Seamaster 300 is quite similar to its predecessor. Instead of being yet another model, the new 300 is replacing the previous version.
The most notable differences are the new lollipop seconds hand and the tapered crown. A second glance also reveals the more ascetic dial design, now stripped of essentially any text other than “Omega” and “Seamaster 300”. The case is slightly thinner, while the dial is slightly larger compared to the outgoing model.
So what’s the big deal? While not being a complete replica to the original 1957 model, it has less of the modern design elements. The lollipop seconds hand is also a call back to the origins of the watch. Considering the strong trends towards modern vintage, Omega is probably striking the bull’s eye with this iteration of its classic diver. Recognizing the extremely high quality in their dials, I look forward to seeing macros of this one going forward.
RRP: GPB 3 695
Diameter: 40 mm
Diver watch, black dial, vintage lume on hands and indexes, hours, minutes, seconds, GMT, date, 300m water resistance, 38 hours power reserve.
Official site: S302 Bracelet | Bremont Luxury Watches
Bremont, a watch brand with less than 20 years run time, yet emits the feel of those over a century old comes with a complementary model to their iconic 40mm S300 range. The S302 sports a burnt orange GMT-hand (not featured on the previous S301) and has fauxtina hands and indexes in contrast to the clear white of the S300.
While the combination of GMT on diver watches is as counterintuitive as it is established, the Bremont’s divers have a strong connection to classic aviation. One could argue that 1930’s aviation had little need for running multiple time zones on the other hand. Moving on to the most interesting feature of this new release..
Where many GMT diver watches run 24-hour bezels, here’s something new. Bremont follows British watchmaking traditions and presents a classic diving bezel complemented with a neat 24-hour scale along the chapter ring.
Summing up: there is a lot to like with Bremont and very much so with the S302.
Studio Underd0g Bicompax Chronograph
RRP: GBP 400
Diameter: 38.5 mm
Textured, multicolored dial, assymteric subdials, chronograph.
Official site: Studio Underd0g
Frequenting the microbrands forums, one can easily get bored with all repeating iterations of the established diver and pilot designs. At some point one may even start to wonder if all designs have been explored. Enter Studio Underd0g, whose first watch is a manual wound, small-sized chronograph. In and by itself, that would deter the main public. Yet, it was funded on Kickstarter in a twinkle and it’s easy to see why when looking at the watches.
A mix of vintage and modern designs, together with a play of colours that render three very distinct and different watches. The most notable is the pink/green “watermelon” version that I expect most backers will chose. A fun detail is that the otherwise circular indexes are stripes emulating the melon seeds.
While being analogies of each other, they give three very distinct expressions. The light blue Desert Sky version gives associations to vintage 1930’s and 1940’s watches. The one-eyed Go0fy Panda is probably my favourite in how it completely challenges the traditional bi- and tricompax chronos.
Classic Bauhaus hands and a case back beautifully showcasing the ST-1901 movement that somehow is the most befitting movement when thinking about the classic / modern mix of this watch. Finally, a micro brand that offers something new and that I sincerely hope will provide more surprises in this niche. Here is also a recipe for a brand that may well take the leap over the giant chasm to becoming an established brand.
Had the case been 40mm or larger, it would have had one more backer. Moving on to the final one of the new watch releases in March 2021
Trafford Watch. Co. S.O.E Roadster
RRP: GBP 500
Diameter: 41 mm
Chronograph, date, hours, minutes, 24-hour subdial, wire lugs.
Official site: SOE Roadster — Trafford Watch Co
What do you get when you want to design a chronograph with clear associations to early days’ motor racing and add a stamp of the inception of British Special Forces? Well, the S.O.E Roadster is another boys room creation that has managed to receive more than full backing on Kickstarter. The idea is quite clever and the campaign is one of the more impressive I’ve seen in terms of write-up and pictures.
I have to admit, I’ve been looking at the watches up and down after having a short conversation with Nathan Trafford about the design of the lugs. As related, they will be shorter and sturdier than the prototypes on the pictures.
The three main models are all named after 1920’s and 1930’s racing drivers who became involved in the WWII on the Allied side. Exclusive for the Kickstarter campaign is a red version, named after another driver, Robert Mazaud.
As in the example above, the Trafford watches are all providing something original to the otherwise pastiche-crowded microbrand stage. Despite the campaign prices being 30-40% off retail price, I’m still impressed that more than 200 pieces have been sold considering that these are powered by mecaquartz movements. Other than that, the watches specified well and deserve to be featured on the New watch releases in March 2021